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The Social Playing Field: Target Comes Up To Bat

Marie Rose
By Marie Rose on Aug 15, 2012 3:04:00 PM

Last week we profiled American Airlines’ use of Twitter to deliver great customer service. This week we’re going shopping – at Target! 

Target is available on Facebook, but they deliver the bulk of their social customer service on Twitter. They operate several Twitter handles that focus specifically on one specific area of the company, including promotions, style, baby clothes, and other areas of the company. For those customers that are looking for support via social media, they can send their tweets to Target’s customer service team, @AskTarget.

Target actively uses Twitter to provide helpful answers for questions and complaints that are sent in. The company is faced with messages of varying content, including poor service at a retail store, items selling out online, issues with call centers and suggestions for improvement. Target does well to offer the best support possible:

  • In the latest study by Conversocial, “The Company You Keep,” Target outshone every other department store in their category in terms of social customer service – including Walmart, Macy’s, Sears and Costco. 47.8% of respondents said that they found their social interactions with Target to be satisfactory or very satisfactory.
  • The Target social customer service team makes sure to apologize to customers whenever they write in with a complaint. They always keep their messages professional, and seek to end everything on a positive note.
  • The agents who operate @AskTarget answer support messages that come in through different Target Twitter handles. This shows that they are pro-actively searching for tweets being written about them.
  • For repetitive complaints and queries, the Target social media agents respond with a carefully crafted template answer. These can help agents to process messages more quickly.

While Target does follow many of the social customer service best practices, there is still room for improvement. For starters, the company could be much more active on Facebook. A recent crisis in Australia with Target stores – which have no association with the Target Corporation in Minnesota – has seen many angry Aussies posting comments on the Target Facebook page. Moderators have responded to these and politely directed the customers to the correct Target, but they haven’t responded to many of the complaints left on their page by their own customers. To progress even further with social customer service, the Target team could bring some of their great work to Facebook too.

One other way that the Target social media team could improve would be by keeping conversations as social as possible. There are many instances of the Twitter agents referring customers back to other customer service channels. If a customer turns to a company via a social network, it’s because this is their preferred contact method. The Target social customer service team should recognize this customer preference and try to resolve issues on social media, not just respond.

We’re excited to name Target a Social Customer Service Rising Star – they are great at customer service, and going forward we hope to watch them become even greater.

Have you had any social customer service experience with Target? Do you think they’re a rising star? We’re interested to hear your opinions in the comments below.

Got any suggestions for what you’d like to hear from us? Send your thoughts to marie@conversocial.com or @Conversocial. We’re always looking for new ideas.

Topics: Customer Service

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